ESSAY : SALEM In 1692 in Salem Massachusetts a horrible chain of events occurred. A massive witch hunt began and a tidal wave of fear and suspicion swept over the tight knit Puritan town of Salem. A small group of girls began accusing the townspeople of witchcraft and the majority of the town believed these claims and full trials were held. If the accused victims did not confess to committing witchcraft it was more than likely that they would be put to death, hung in front of the town. Arthur Miller portrays this event in his novel The Crucible. The theme of Authority and Power is vital in The Crucible because of the abuses of power, the need for control and the absolute belief in authority figures lead to the witch hunt. Throughout the witch hunt the abuses of power are prevalent. The abuse was broad spectrum and everyone from the accusing girls to the judge are involved. Abigail Williams is the leader of the girls. She begins this charade in order to save herself and the other girls from the punishment that they would have been handed down for them dancing in the woods. Abigail being a conniving girl sees the opportunity to save herself and seek revenge on people from the town who she feels "hate her and are trying to blacken her name in the community"(p.24 ). Abigail forces the other girls to go along with her plan by threatening them and forcing them to follow her "â€¦either of you breathe a word, or the edge of a word, about the other things, and I will come to you in the black of some terrible night and I will bring a pointy reckoning that will shudder you â€¦"(p.20). Together the girls begin to destroy what was once a close community. Abigail is not alone in the abuses of power. The judge, Danforth has fallen under the girls spell and believes in them completely. Since he believes that the girls are right and decides that there is no way and accused person could actually be innocent. Due to this and judge Danforths ego he sends many people to their deaths still claiming innocence. Not only does Danforth refuse to hear opposition to the existence of witchcraft he creates the front that anyone who doubts that witchcraft is in Salem is trying to undermine the court (p. ). However it is apparent that he just does not want his authority to be questioned or his reputation tarnished. Danforth and Abigail are able to accomplish this becaus... .... Their beliefs that the girls are right has forced them to fear that they might be accused next. Abigail even dares say this to Danforth "Let you beware, Mr. Danforth. Think you be so mighty that the power of Hell may not turn your wits? Beware of it"! (p.108) Danforth does not pay attention to this but other members of the community do. They are afraid to do or say anything against Abigail or the girls even though the town believes that the girls are telling the truth. The witch hunt that occurred in The Crucible can be attributed to the theme of Authority and Power and since the community believed in those in a position of power, the abuses that these people did and their need for control increased the severity of the events. Had the town not placed such power in the hands of these girls and in the hands of strangers such as Rev. Hale and judge Danforth many lives would have been saved. The beliefs of the town gave those in a position of power a want for control and they began to stop at nothing to achieve that. The massacre of innocent people in Salem is a tragic event in history which is portrayed quite accurately in Arthur Millers The Crucible. Word Count: 1223
Choosing between mischel and rotters explaining personality Both Julian Rotter and Walter Mischel proposed the social cognitive approach to personality. Known as social cognitive theorists, Mischel and Rotter suggested that conscious thoughts and emotions determine the difference between people and guide the way they behave (Mischel, 2004). The social cognitive approach is not based on the description of an individuals personality rather than on the principles of human learning. Thus, they believe that our personality is formed through the learning processes such as observation and interaction with the family and others in social situations. From an interactionist point of view, peoples interaction with their environment predicts their behavior. Rotter suggested that changes in personality can occur at any time but the basic unity that it has prevents it from changing as a result of minor experiences. Rotter talked about the law of effect, as such, he believed that the way people act is a determinant of an anticipated goal. According to Rotter, four variables predict human behavior: behavior potential, expectancy, reinforcement value, and the psychological situation. Behaviour potential is the first component of Rotters theory. Behaviour potential refers to the possibility of engaging in a specific act in a particular situation. A person has a choice of behaviour to acquire in a given time and place. The second variable is Expectancy which refers to the a persons expectancy that a given behaviour will lead to a reinforce. Expectancy can either be General or specific. A specific expectancy is the belief that a particular behaviour at a certain time and place will lead to an outcome. General expectancies are the beliefs that anything a person is doing will make a difference. Rotter believed that the combination of the specific and general expectancies lead to reinforcement. The effort a person devote to achieve his goal will be determined by the total expectancy. The third variable is the reinforcement value. Reinforcement value is Rotters conception of motivation. The thing a person wants to attain has high reinforcement value. The constancy of expectancies and situational variables when there is preference of reinforcement shape behaviour. According to Rotter the perception of people known as the internal reinforcement influences behaviour. The fourth variable considered by Rotter is the psychological situation which is in his prediction formula. He believed that peoples interaction with their environment result in their way of behaving. He suggested that different people will interpret the same environment differently. Moreover, Mischels cognitive affective theory does suggest that individuals behaviour is characterized by the beliefs that they learn, expectancies and feelings but along with that he claimed that these particular characteristics make them different from other people. He termed these characteristics as cognitive person variables which shows the dimensions of the difference between people differ (Mischel, 2004, 569). Mischel named some important cognitive person variables that affect a person when adapting to an environment (Shoda and Mischel, 2006) : Encoding strategies are a persons belief about his environment and other people. Unlike the social learning theory, people make use of their cognitive processes to form personal constructs from the external stimuli. The way people encode an event is different which shows their individual differences in personal constructs. Also, Mischel suggested that stimulus can be altered by how people interpret experiences and to what they attend selectively. Expectancies refer to the persons belief of his capacity and what the person expects from his previous behaviour. Affects refer to feelings and emotions. Affective responses emphasize on a persons behaviour is determined by the interaction of peoples cognitive processes with a specific situation. The affective responses are not separable from cognitions and they influence other cognitive-affective units. Goals and values are what the person want to achieve and believe in. Competencies and self-regulatory plans refer to the persons capacity in terms of his thoughts and actions, his ability to engage in goal directed behaviour. As people do not attend to all stimuli in the environment, they selectively create the world in which they live. Also, the self regulatory plans make people to plan and maintain their behaviours. According to Mischel, these cognitive variables as well as the features of the situation have to be identified to predict a persons behaviour in a given situation. Hence, the interaction of the person and situation lead to behaviour. Mischel suggested that only if a person come upon a specific behaviour, then his behaviour will reflect the characteristics he has learned in that particular situation (Kammrath, Mendoza-Denton and Mischel, 2005). Rotters social cognitive theory was based on the locus of control whereas Mischels cognitive affective theory was based on situation versus person variables. Mischels theory was an extension of Rotters social cognitive approach. Just like Rotter believed that peoples reaction to environmental forces are more determined by cognitive factors than immediate reinforcements, Mischel claimed that behaviour is determined by both situation variables (environmental factors: rewards and punishments) and person variables (internal personal factors). The two person variables : expectancies and subjective values in Mischels theory have the same meaning as in Rotters model. As an extension of Rotters social cognitive theory, Mischel added other person variables like competencies, encoding strategies and self regulatory systems and plans. Mischel strongly believed that the interaction of both environmental and personal factors develops behaviour. He claimed that we have to take into account what we know about a particular person and the present situation to predict the latters behaviour. Furthermore, he laid emphasis on how emotions and person variables interacted. He argued that negative emotions like depression affects peoples interpretation of their experiences and expectancies they hold about the future (Mischel and Shoda, 1995, p.498). Also, Mischel suggested that emotion variables just like cognition depend on how people interpret and label their experiences. The cognitive-affective personality system proposed the consistency paradox which refer to the variability across situations and stability in a persons behaviour. Mischel believed that variations in the behaviour pattern is neither caused by random error nor the situation alone. He rather believed that these variations in behaviour patterns predict behaviour that mirror stable patterns of variation within a person. Mischel and Shoda (1995) devised the ItÃ¢â‚¬Â¦then framework which they believe can conceptualise the variations in behaviour. The relationship of the ifÃ¢â‚¬Â¦then in this framework is as such: If A, then X; but if B, then Y. A and B are taken as situations in which the individual is in and X and Y are the ways people behave as a result of the situations they are facing. For example if Mark is provoked by his wife (situation A), then he will react with aggression (X). if changes and so, then also changes. In the first situation If Mark is being provoked by his wife (situation A), he will react aggressively (X). In a second situation (B), if Mark is being provoked by his boss then he will obey with submission (reaction Y). In these two situations we can see that Marks behavior is inconsistent, but Mischel and Shoda believed that being provoked by two different persons is not the same stimulus. Instead, they suggested that Marks behavior reflects a stable behavior pattern. Thus this framework claimed that the way people react to situations depend on cognitions( for example : perceptions, illusions) and affective (for example feelings) related with them. Mischel and Shoda (1995) proposed a second example where two persons are qualified as irritable but their irritability is caused differently. In the example he said that 2 persons are irritable: Person 1 likes to be the center of attention and likes interaction with others. Thus, Person 1 gets irritable when no one pays attention to him/her. Person 2 likes to be alone and gets irritable when people start to relate their lives. In addition to, there are two situations: Situation A reflects no interaction among people (e.g. Business meeting), It is just a boring situation. In situation B, such interactions are mostly frequent (e.g. parties). Therefore, based on ifÃ¢â‚¬Â¦Then Framework, Person 1 will feel irritated in situation A and not B, whereas Person 2 will feel irritated in situation B and not A. The IfÃ¢â‚¬Â¦then framework is based on the Behavioral Signature of Personality. The Behavioural Signature of Personality is the variation in an individuals behaviour in specific situations. In the example of Mark; his Behavioral Signature of Personality is his consistent manner to vary his behavior across situations; that is he will not react aggressively in all situations (Feist, 2004). M ischel took traits into consideration and contend that some basic traits are persistent over time. Mischel himself argued that the idea of consistency of personality across situations is not right. Mischel and Peake (1982) examined the consistency of conscientiousness and friendliness in college students. The result was that students responded inconsistently across situations. Mischels social cognitive theory maintains that peoples behavior is specific to the context of the situation. For example, somebody can be honest at work but can cheat on taxes. This approach does not predict depends that behavior will be consistent across situations. Behavior depends mainly on the consequences of the actions (such as rewards). However, according to Mischel, consistency can occur when the same behavior is reinforced in a variety of situations or if a person is unable to discriminate among situations. For Mischel traits can be useful as they provide summaries of multiple behavioral observations and as such have descriptive usefulness. Traits affect behavior differently in different situations under certain conditions. For example, the trait of aggression will be apparent only under circumstances like when a person feels frustrated or angry. People with the trait aggressiveness act differently from those who are low in this trait. Moreover, Mischels theory considers the prior experiences in life. The prior experience play a role in situational context. Thoughts and emotions activated by a particular situation are the results of prior experiences with the particular situations. Therefore, situational variables as well as experiences play a role in the occurrence of any behavior. Rotter, on the other hand, attaches great importance to needs of people, as needs indicate the direction of behavior. Mischel talks goals only. Whereas Rotters theory speaks of goals when the focus is on the environment and speaks of needs when the focus is on the person. Rotter and Hochriech (1975) listed six categories of needs: recognition-status, protection-dependency, love and affection and physical comfort. In my own view, Mischels theory is better off than that of Rotters. Mischel even took into consideration the personality traits which he believed account for little of the variance in human behaviour. His aim was to replace traits like sociability or dominance into traits of his own invention. His theory was closely based on the social learning theory of Rotter but he combined the social learning theory with the knowledge about mental processes from cognitive psychology. Mischel with the help of his student, Shoda issued an updated version of his original theory. His new version had five variables instead of four and the new variable was affects, feelings or emotions. The addition of the new variable was due to the research made in 1995 which found that social information and processing and coping behaviour was influenced by affects and emotions (Mischel and Shoda, 1995, p.252). Another aspect which Mischel included in the new version of the theory was the description of personality as a cognitive-affective system. According to his new theory, he claimed that the importance in the five cognitive social learning person variables lie in their simultaneous interaction. Therefore, personality is a stable system that mediates how the individual processes, chooses and constructs social information and produces social behaviours (Mischel and Shoda, 1995). The cognitive affective personality system further claims that a persons behaviour will change based on a particular situation but in a meaningful manner. Mischel and Shoda (1995, 1998, 1999) even devised a framework and suggested that variations in behaviour can be predicted from it and he took into consideration the consistency paradox in explaining peoples behaviour. Moreover, Mischel places his cognitive theory against the traditional trait theory. As such, he argued that his theoretical cognitive person variables are superior to the traits as they express scientific rather than understanding. Unlike Rotter, Mischel and his colleagues believed in the importance of moving from a theoretical perspective of personality out of conceptualizations like irritability to a more scientific conceptualizations like encoding competency. Mischels theory is an advance over the trait approach as well. His person variables focus on the psychological processes in shaping behaviour rather than on the behaviours itself. Another advantage of Mischels theory is that individual differences in behaviour become conceptualized as patterns not as average levels.